National Museum of Health and Medicine/SPL
Winter flu breaks out every year because small mutations in the flu virus let it dodge antibodies we made to protect us from the last flu we got. It isn’t totally different from that last flu, so we are partly immune, and the infection may be mild. But every now and then an influenza A virus breaks out carrying surface proteins that are very different. This “pandemic” flu spreads like wildfire regardless of the season – and often more, and younger, people die. Survivors do gain some immunity for next time, so the killer settles down and becomes regular seasonal flu, drifting along until the next pandemic flu surfaces.
The first record likely to have been of a flu pandemic
Published at Wed, 03 Jan 2018 16:00:00 +0000